Orange-cheeked waxbill

posted in: bird | 0

Johnny Wee shares two photos of the Orange-cheeked waxbill Estrilda melpoda that he encountered at Bishan Park, Singapore in August 2022.

Read https://lkcnhm.nus.edu.sg/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/app/uploads/2017/04/sbr2016-133-134.pdf about these finches which were seen in Bishan Park in 2016 and thought to have been released from captivity.

Photo 1: The waxbill clings to an upright leaf stalk(?) and has picked up a food item in its beak (caterpillar or plant part?)
Photo 2: The waxbill flying above a water plantain leaf.

 

Photographs © Johnny Wee.

Texts and captions by Teo Lee Wei.

 

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White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis) in MCKL, Brickfields, KL and Gamuda Gardens, Northern Klang Valley

posted in: bird, White-throated Kingfisher | 0
The white-throated kingfisher, Halcyon smyrnensis, is sometimes spotted flitting in and out of trees surrounding the MCKL field. After several laughable attempts to photograph it, which include my camera running out of battery after finally getting it in focus (twice!), the stars have finally aligned recently. Ironically enough, since getting the photographs, I can see it almost every day now. Maybe now it is just a matter of knowing where to look?
Despite its name, H. smyrnensis does have other nourishment other than fish, which includes earthworms, centipedes and other terrestrial invertebrates. After making a catch, it bashes the poor prey a few times to immobilize it before gulping it down.
Fig. 1-4 shows H. smyrnensis perched on MCKL’s bird hot spot, the goal post in the field. It was spotting for worms on the field.
Figure 1.
Figure 2.
Figure 3.
Figure 4.
Fig. 5-6 shows H. smyrnensis on a higher, natural perch (the raintree) where it was observed to engage in its prey-bashing maneuver.
Figure 5.
Figure 6.
Fig. 7-10 shows H. smyrnensis at Gamuda Gardens, northern Klang Valley. It seemed to enjoy the view before being chased away by the recent arrival, the brown shrike!
Figure 7.
Figure 8.
Figure 9.
Figure 10.
All photos taken with Nikon P530 by Ng Di Lin.
25 September 2022.
Ng Di Lin

Lecturer, American Degree Transfer Program

Methodist College Kuala Lumpur

Off Jalan Tun Sambanthan 4, Brickfields, 50470 Kuala Lumpur.

Read these posts about the White-throated Kingfishers:

https://besgroup.org/2021/12/06/white-throated-kingfisher-bathing/

Parental and Social Behaviour of the Bronze-winged Jacana (Metopidius indicus)

posted in: bird, parental care | 0

The Bronze-winged Jacana (Metopidius indicus) is considered an uncommon resident (very localised) in the Thai-Malay Peninsula (Wells 1999); more often seen on the Thai side of the peninsula. Birds of the World (Jenni and Kirwan 2020) does not mention it for Malaysia but does suggest local seasonal movements in response to the weather. The recent ‘Birds of Malaysia’ (Chong et al 2020) suggest that it is a very local winter visitor to Peninsular Malaysia. The MNS Bird Conservation Council (2021) documents it as a resident for Peninsular Malaysia.

Reports in the eBird dataset show an increased number of sightings especially in Perlis and the Penang state mainland. Some of these reports are accompanied with images of juveniles.

Some of us were fortunate to see a breeding pair in a wetlands site in mainland Penang in the past few weeks. Observation on 23rd August and 22nd September 2022. Early observations suggest that there were 4 chicks but currently only 2 are left (see Plate 1); the others are assumed to have been lost due to predation.

Plate 1.

It is well known that sex roles are reversed for incubation and brood rearing (Wells 1999). During our observations, we are able to differentiate the adult male from the adult female by size; females are reported to be up to 60% larger (Jenni and Kirwan 2020).

Observations show that only the male cares for and ‘shepherds’ the chicks (see Plate 2). The male is very protective of the young and at times will shield them in dense vegetation or keep them under its wings. The male is also constantly on the lookout for threats and will address these aggressively by flying out to meet the perceived threat.

Plate 2.

The adult female Bronze-winged Jacana is usually found some distance away (10-20 meters), feeding and preening; only occasionally involved in parenting activities. Once, when a group of juvenile and adult Indochinese (Purple) Swamphen (Porphyrio poliocephalus) came too close, the adult male Bronze-winged Jacana flew out to defend his brood; at this time we also observed the adult female joining him to defend the chicks.

At times we observed the chicks completely unattended while the adult male was off defending them or was some distance away feeding. All observations showed the 2 juveniles were self-feeding. No observations of the chicks being fed by either parent was observed at earlier or later visit to the site (four weeks apart). The juveniles tend to wander off in all directions and are often about 1 to 2 meters away from the adult male. It was observed that occasionally the adult male would go into ‘panic mode’ when he could not locate all the chicks.

Towards dawn and dusk all the chicks would huddle under the wings of the adult male, probably to keep warm, with only the legs visible (see Plates 3 and 4).

Plate 3.
Plate 4.

For roosting, the adult male prefers wet, open spaces surrounded by grass vegetation; likely for visibility of predators, such as monitor lizards (a few were seen stalking the birds). Swamp hens could also be a threat.

These and earlier observations by colleagues confirm that the Bronze-winged Jacana is a resident for Peninsular Malaysia and breeds locally. Protection of wetlands sites is critical for the survival of this species. The Batu Kawan wetlands site on the Penang mainland, where these birds were seen, is an excellent location but is sadly scheduled for extensive development.

References

  1. Chong Leong Puan, Geoffrey Davison, Kim Chye Lim (2020). Birds of Malaysia: Covering Peninsular Malaysia, Malaysian Borneo and Singapore. Lynx and BirdLife International Field Guides Collection.
  2. Jenni, D. A. and G. M. Kirwan (2020). Bronze-winged Jacana (Metopidius indicus), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (J. del Hoyo, A. Elliott, J. Sargatal, D. A. Christie, and E. de Juana, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.
  3. MNS Bird Conservation Council. 2021. A Checklist of the Bird of Malaysia 2020 Edition. Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian Nature Society. (MNS Conservation Publication No. 22)
  4. Wells, D.R. (1999) The birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsula: Vol. 1 (Passerines). Christopher Helm, London.

 

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS, Robin Cheng and Cecilia Lim

Penang, Malaysia

22 September 2022.

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Long-Tailed Shrike Juvenile calling for food.

posted in: bird, Feeding chicks, Long-tailed shrike | 0

A long-tailed shrike (Lanius schach) family attracted Shahrul’s attention at the Singapore Business Park. His efforts paid off as this set of photographs show: moments when the two juveniles begged loudly for food, parent feeding a juvenile and food preparation.

Photo 1: Young long-tailed shrike calling to be fed.
Photo 2: Long-tailed shrike parent feeding juvenile on left of picture.
Photo 3: A juvenile begging for food from its parent. A second juvenile is on the extreme right of the picture.
Photo 4: Parent turns away with tail against juvenile’s neck.
Photo 5: A juvenile begging vociferously to be fed.
Photo 6: Juvenile begging for food while flapping its wings.
Photo 7: Juvenile flapping wings vigorously and calling loudly for food.
Photo 8: Parent bird with an insect prey in the beak.
Photo 9: Parent uses foot to separate head of insect prey from body.
Photo 10: Parent transferring prepared insect prey to juvenile.
Photo 11: Juvenile flapping its wings with joy after being fed.
Changi Business Park
September 2022
12 pm

 

All photographs © Shahrul Kamal.

Texts and captions by Teo Lee Wei.

This post is a cooperative effort between Birds, Insects N Creatures Of Asia and BESG to bring the study of birds and their behavior through photography and videography to a wider audience.

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A Tribute to Dr Clive F Mann – Ornithologist, Friend and Kind Soul

posted in: Miscellaneous | 0

Some of us were devastated by the news that Dr Clive F Mann, suddenly and unexpectedly, died on 24th August 2022 due to a medical problem. This short article is to remember our friend and help as we work through the grief of losing him.

Image 1: Dr Clive F. Mann from his Facebook page.

Some of you may know Clive as an excellent ornithologist and an expert on the birds of Southeast Asia. Clive was a member of the MNS Record Review Committee, where his special Borneo bird knowledge was put to good use.

He had written numerous research articles and three wonderful books, which include:

  1. Sunbirds: A Guide to the Sunbirds, Flowerpeckers, Spiderhunters and Sugarbirds of the World. Helm Identification Guide Series, 2001, Helm. Written together with Robert A Cheke and illustrated by Richard Allen.
Image 2: Book cover of guide book on Sunbirds by Robert A Cheke, Clive F Mann and Richard Allen.
  1. The Birds of Borneo. BOC Checklists Volume: 23, 2008, British Ornithologists’ Union.  At one time in his life, Clive had a teaching role in Brunei, where he took over the role of coordinating national record keeping and published intermittent country reports. This led to his book on Borneo birds.
Image 3: Book cover of The Birds of Borneo by Clive F. Mann.
  1. Cuckoos of the World. Helm Identification Guide Series, 2012, Helm. Written together with Johannes Erritzøe, Frederik P Brammer and Richard A Fuller.
Image 4: Book cover of Cuckoos of the World by Johannes Erritzøe, Clive F. Mann, Frederik P. Brammer and Richard A. Fuller.

At the time of his demise, he was actively working on a major revision to the Helm Identification Guide – Sunbirds: A Guide to the Sunbirds, Flowerpeckers, Spiderhunters and Sugarbirds of the World. We hope this will be part of his continued legacy to all of us.

Clive was based in London, England and had a PhD in Ornithology from the City of London Polytechnic in 1979-1984. He was involved in many ornithology societies and was the past chairperson of the British Ornithologists’ Club, Trust for Oriental Ornithology and the present chairperson of the Trust for Avian Systematics. He was also a long-standing member of the British Ornithologists’ Union and Linnean Society of London.

Clive was far more than a gifted ornithologist. He was interested and involved in human rights, civil rights and social action, disaster and humanitarian relief, poverty alleviation and, of course, the environment.

Clive was a wonderful person and friend. He was an encouraging person and was always appreciative and respectful of the observations of others, including young bird watchers. Having communicated often with him, it was always a joy to listen to his insights and perspectives. He was humble and always willing to learn from others.

We shall miss his wise words and kind opinions; and especially his friendship. We trust that he lives on in the work that he has shared with us and in the impact he has had on our lives.

Image 5: Photo of Clive F. Mann on his Facebook page.

 

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS

Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

18th September 2022

 

Note: Clive’s funeral will take place at Mortlake Crematorium on : 23rd September, Friday at 12.40 pm.

Read :

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=pfbid02zs9iicuGXQtEy4FNLS1TnfpBu6XEJXcvFFAooQsnahcTpGea6JSti1VfvnHgWqfXl&id=686357100

for further information about the funeral.

 

 

Black Baza, Aviceda leuphotes, feeds on slug

posted in: bird, Black Baza, Feeding-invertebrates | 0

Johnny Wee photographed a Black Baza (Aviceda leuphotes) feeding on a slug at Pasir Ris Park on 19 November 2021.

This predator belongs to the Family Accipitridae and possesses strong talons to capture and subdue prey. They feed on insects, oil palm fruits and small birds.

Photo 1: Black Baza caught a slug. Pasir Ris Park. 19 November 2021. Courtesy of Johnny Wee.
Photo 2: Baza has eaten the slug, then scans the surroundings. The head crest is held upright. Pasir Ris Park. 19 November 2021. Courtesy of Johnny Wee.
Photo 3: Black Baza in flight. Pasir Ris Park. 19 November 2021. Courtesy of Johnny Wee.

 

Read https://besgroup.org/2007/04/09/portrait-of-a-black-baza/  that describes the Black Bazas,             https://besgroup.org/2013/02/11/black-baza-feeding-on-praying-mantis/ about how these birds normally process their preys and https://besgroup.org/2008/11/19/arrivals-of-the-black-bazas/  about the arrival of these migratory birds in Singapore.

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Grey-rumped Treeswift Couple

posted in: bird, brooding, Grey-rumped Treeswift | 0

Jeremiah Loei visited the Grey-rumped Treeswifts (Hemiprocne longipennis) nesting at Dawson Road, Singapore. The other bird-watchers who had been staking out the place related that Mrs Treeswift had been sitting at the nest for many hours.  Mr Treeswift was no where in sight. It went M.I.A! (missing in action). The video above by Jeremiah shows a very restless Mrs Treeswift.

Read the post: Grey-rumped Treeswift: Male feeding chick and calling female for a shift change with video footages taken by Jeremiah Loei in 2017, showing the male treeswift calling for a shift change. https://besgroup.org/2017/06/30/grey-rumped-treeswift-male-feeding-chick-and-calling-female-for-a-shift-change/

 

The three photographs below show the same couple on a different day.

Photo 1: Mrs Treeswift at nest. Attribute to Shahrul Kamal. 9 September 2022. Dawson Road.
Photo 2: Mr Treeswift brooding the egg and calling for shift change. Dawson Road, Singapore. 9 September 2022. Attribute to Shahrul Kamal.
Photo 3: Mr Treeswift catching some shut-eye while brooding the single egg. 9 September 2022. Attribute to Shahrul Kamal.

 

This post is a cooperative effort between Birds, Insects N Creatures Of Asia and BESG to bring the study of birds and their behavior through photography and videography to a wider audience.

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Green imperial pigeons exposing armpits in the rain

posted in: bird, green imperial pigeon, Hygiene | 0

On 20 Aug 2022, I saw from my balcony, 6 Green Imperial pigeons (Ducula aenea) perching on the Footstool palm (Saribus rotundifolius) in the heavy rain (Photo 1). All of them were simply soaking themselves in the heavy rain instead of taking cover.

What caught my attention was the way a few of them were exposing their underwing, especially the pectoral area or `armpit’ towards the heavy shower (Photos 2 – 4). They were leaning their body sideways on a leaf stalk, stretching and flipping one of their wings backwards, exposing their `armpits’ upwards for several minutes each time. They were completely drenched but refused to hide under any shelter.

They probably behave this way so that rain water will help to clean them by running down the exposed skin, and in this case, the skin covering the pectoral muscles. Photo 5 showed a bird exposing the skin below its scapular feathers, in the heavy rain.

I came across a video by Brienne Momberger, Aviculturist at National Aquarium, Baltimore, Maryland, USA dated 5 Feb 2022, where  a White Imperial pigeon (Ducula bicolor) was behaving in similar fashion.

Two years ago, in January 2000, I saw an Imperial Green pigeon on the same tree doing a similar pose of exposing the underwing but this time it was drying itself by facing towards the sunlight, after the rain (Photo 6).

It was interesting to observe this species behaving in this unusual manner of exposing their underwing to allow the rain water to clean them or for drying their feathers.

Bird flight is primarily powered by the pectoralis muscles that move the humerus bone of the wing around the shoulder. The pectoralis muscles of most adult birds take up approximately 8–11% of the total body mass (George and Berger, 1966; Biewener, 2011)

From here, I could conclude that it is important for birds to maintain the pectoralis muscles in good condition as it is one of the primary organs for flight and is used all the time.

Photo 1: 6 Green Imperial pigeons (Ducula aenea) perching on the Footstool palm (Saribus rotundifolius) in the heavy rain.
Photo 2: One of the pigeons leaning its body sideways on a leaf stalk.
Photo 3: A pigeon stretching and flipping its wings.
Photo 4: This pigeon is exposing its `armpits’ upwards, for several minutes each time.
Photo 5: A bird exposing the skin below its scapular feathers, in the heavy rain.
Photo 6: Imperial Green pigeon on the same tree doing a similar pose of exposing the underwing but this time it was drying itself by facing towards the sunlight, after the rain. January 2000.

 

Thong Chow Ngian

20 August 2022.

 

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Nature Society (Singapore)’s Conservation Committee’s big LIE

posted in: Conservation | 0

Sophie Chew’s article published in the Rice Media: Before There Was Dover Road Forest, There Was The Lower Peirce Golf Course Saga of 1922 attracted my attention to a one page “document” by the Nature Society (Singapore) dated 5th September 2017. It was headlined “Nature Society (Singapore), NSS’s Response to Internet Comments on the Projects of its Conservation Committee: A Review of its Facts.” There was no signature attached to this document. The document however, claimed to have the “endorsements” of the President (Dr Shawn Lum), two past Presidents (Dr Geh Min and Prof Ng Soon Chye), Chairman of the Conservation Committee (Leong Kwok Peng) and Vice-Chairman (Dr Ho Hua Chew) – see below.

Part of the one-page document authored by the Nature Society (Singapore)’s Conservation Committee

BIG lie number 1

As the document carries no signatures of those who endorsed it, I suspect that Shawn Lum, Geh Min and Ng Soon Chye had their names used without their knowledge and permission. As such I wrote to Shawn on 21st May 2021, asking specifically whether he knew of the existence of the document that claimed his personal endorsement. As I received no response, I wrote another letter saying that unless he replied, I would personally write the Geh Min and Soon Chye to confirm their endorsements. This did the trick and I got Shawn’s reply. He confirmed that that he was not the author of the document, claiming that he only came onto the scene after the controversy of the Lower Peirce Reservoir-Golf Course controversy was settled. This imply that he had no knowledge of the “document” and that his name was used without his permission. I assumed that since Geh Min and Soon Chye also became Presidents well after the golf course controversy and both never discussed the saga with me, they too had no knowledge of the of the existence of the document or its contents. The contents point to Ho Hua Chew as the author. Shawn’s reply to my letter did not mention that he would be talking to Hua Chew about the latter’s number one big lie, although this was a serious deception on the the part of Hua Chew.

The Straits Times clipping of 26th May 1992 on the Lower Peirce Reservoir controversy showing YC Wee and the late Subaraj Rajathurai.

Big lie number 2

Within the document are my comments that I had earlier requested Hua Chew to deal with the Lower Peirce forest threat, which he, until today, denies ever being asked. Instead, he falsely claimed that he in fact wanted me, being President of the Nature Society (Singapore) then, to lead the “save Lower Peirce forest.” Hua Chew further claimed: “Together with Sutari, Dr. Ho invited Dr. Wee, the then President of the Society, to visit the bird survey transacts, which he agreed to do.” If I was really invited, the invitation failed to reach me. And during that period (and until today) I have yet to met up with Sutari.

One way to prove who is lying is to get the Nature Society (Singapore)’s office to trace the letter alerting the impending building the golf course where I scribbled a note to Hua Chew to deal with it and his replied, something to the effect “you do it”. This letter was written sometime around March 1992. And if my memory serves me right, it was written by Richard Hale. Incidentally Richard is currently overseas. I can confirm with him when he returns in a month or so. Are you, Hua Chew, willing to prove that you are not a lier in this instance?

Now why did I instruct Hua Chew to lead the battle to save Lower Peirce forest? Well, from 1990 to 1994, every single call for site conservation, and there were five (Kranji Heronry, Khatib Bongsu, Senoko Marina South and Punggol Grassland), was led by Hua Chew as Chairman of the Conservation Committee. And I only became aware of what happened the next day when I read The Straits Times. And in none of these instances was I ever told that “I was the best person for the task…”

Big lie number 3

During the thick of the confrontation with government to save the Lower Peirce forest, I was never informed of the signature campaign. I only knew of it very much later. To claim that the draft was sent by me to Hua Chew is another big lie – unless there is a medical condition involved.

Miscellaneous

As to the minor comments re conservation matters, they are petty ramblings unworthy of comments.

Acknowledgement: Featured image courtesy of Wikiquote.

 

YC Wee

7th September 2022

This is an addendum to the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum’s Oral History Project

Cynopterus brachyotis (lesser dog-faced bat) in Methodist College Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

posted in: lesser dog-faced bat, Mammals | 0
I recently came across a colony? of lesser dog-faced bats, a.k.a. lesser short-nosed fruit bat roosting in ceiling of a 5-storey stairwell in MCKL. The area is heavily trafficked in the day time and the bats seem to be comfortable with human presence underneath their roosting place. Their roost is a malfunctioned ceiling light with grating which allowed them serendipitously to grasp on to.
Fig 1 shows three of four (females?) on one end of the ceiling light.
Fig 2 shows a lone individual on the other end of the light fixture. I speculate that this is the male as C. brachyotis males do possess a harem. However, there seems a be an ear peeking out from the ventral side of the bat.
Fig 3 shows a different angle to Fig 2. On closer inspection, it seemed that there was a juvenile? baby? nestled close to the individual.
Fig 4.
Fig 5.
Fig 6.

Figs 4-6 shows what appear to be one ear and the lateral head view of the juvenile?

Fig 7 shows the females in rest position.
Fig 8 shows them stirring, probably in response to my presence.
It is interesting to note the big eyes and overall resemblance to puppies!
Interesting snippets: The life-span of this bat is 20-30 years. They are frugivorous and like mangosteens. They suck out the juices and soft pulp of small fruits like chikus (Manilkara zapota), guavas (Psidium guajava), bananas (Musa spp), but swallow small fruits like figs, feed on nectar and pollen too.  Medway notes that breeding is not seasonal in Peninsula Malaysia and the young are nursed with mother’s milk for about six to eight weeks. The mother bat carries the pup with her continuously during the nursing period. These bats pollinate flowers and carry out dispersal of seeds.
This bat (Megachiroptera bats) uses its large eyes to navigate at night, instead of echolocation (Microchiroptera bats). Sight and sound are used together to navigate.

Ng Di Lin

Lecturer, American Degree Transfer Program

Methodist College Kuala Lumpur

Off Jalan Tun Sambanthan 4, Brickfields, 50470 Kuala Lumpur.

 

References: 

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lesser_short-nosed_fruit_bat
  2. https://www.ecologyasia.com/verts/bats/lesser_dog-faced_fruit-bat.htm
  3. https://wiki.nus.edu.sg/display/TAX/Cynopterus+brachyotis+-+Lesser+Dog-faced+Fruit+Bat
  4. https://besgroup.org/2014/06/27/bats-roosting-in-my-porch-1-introduction/
  5. https://besgroup.org/2018/03/05/common-fruit-bat-feeding-on-longan/
  6. https://besgroup.org/2021/09/15/attracting-bats-to-your-garden/
  7. https://besgroup.org/2022/07/08/barn-owl-controlling-fruit-bats-roosting-on-eaves-of-houses/
  8. https://besgroup.org/2017/01/25/oriental-pied-hornbill-caught-a-bat/

 

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26 Responses

  1. kris

    I just found a young dollarbird in the garden.. It seems to have left the nest too early and cannot fly yet. How am i to keep and feed it for a few days untill it can fly.???

  2. Iwan

    We have a small pond in our garden surrounded by trees and steep bedrock. The other day we saw a heron flying over and attempting to land – I guess to try to eat our small stock of fish. We managed to frighten it away before it landed, and have since installed trip wires around the pond in order to dissuade the bird. The amount of shelter around the pond means that a heron would have to land practically vertically. Does anyone know whether these birds have the agility to hover and land in this way, or do they always need a “glidepath” in order to land successfully?

  3. Khng Eu Meng

    Today, at the former Bidadari Cemetery, there was a buzz about a sighting of a Grey Nightjar (Caprimulgus jotaka). I heard some birders say this nightjar isn’t commonly seen in Singapore. After some hunting, we spotted it asleep on a tree branch, some 15 m above ground. This was rather interesting as my previous encounters with nightjars have been on either terra firma or on low branches.

    Is this perching so high up the tree normal or is it unusual? I have posted a photo of it on my Facebook Timeline: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151125012234135&set=a.108191464134.96538.617499134&type=1&theater

  4. Jess

    Bird Sanctuary At Former Bidadari Cementry

    1)Which is the best spot in Bidadari cemetery for bird watch?

    2)Where this bird usually resident at?

    3)What are some of the rare bird species that can be found at Bidadari?

    4)Where is the particular hot spot for the hornbills, eagles, kingfishers and some of the rare migratory bird?

    5)Which part of Bidadari are richest in it wildlife?

    6)Can you name me the 59 migratory bird species found?

  5. YC

    Why not search the website using the word ‘Bidadari’ to obtain the information you need. There should be sufficient info in past postings to satisfy you.

  6. Firdaus Razak

    Hai, I just want to ask did anybody had an experience bring bird from oversea via MasKargo? Did the bird will stress at high altitude?

  7. Chung Wah

    Hi, I am new to bird photography! Could anyone advise a good pair of binoculars to get for this hobby?

  8. Geam Liang

    I ‘acquired’ a female Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot 5 days ago – was in a public place when the bird flew overhead hit the wall and dropped right in front of me dazed. I picked it up, it appeared unhurt but could not sustain it’s flight. I have since constructed a fairly large ‘cage’ for it, about 4ft x 2fx x 2ft and placed it there last night. I temporarily placed her in a normal bird cage until I had completed the build.
    From what I have read up, it’s a fruit, seed and insect feeder and also nectar, flower buds. It’s doing as well as it can on bananas, papaya, jack-fruit (didn’t touch the grape) and seeds (black and white sunflower and other smaller ones). It loves to bathe so I’ve gotten it a tray and from what I read it’s important to keep things clean as it easily succumbs to infection.
    Does anyone else have any useful experience and sharing on it’s upkeep? I suspect this bird is an escapee – as far as I can read up, it’s not common, if at all, found in Georgetown, Penang where I am. I’m also not optimistic that it can survive if I were to set it free – assuming it can sustain it’s flight and not go crashing down and if there were dogs/cats around that would be the end of it.
    I can attach some pictures but not sure how to do this…
    thanks.

  9. Lee Chiu San

    The blue-crowned hanging parrot, even though very closely related to the lovebirds, is a nectar feeder. You would raise it the way you raise a lorikeet – which is a messy process. And because you are mixing batches of food for just one little bird, whereas I used to do it for about half a dozen pigeon-sized lorikeets each morning, I don’t know how you are going to get the portions down to manageable sizes. Anyway, here goes, with my recipe for feeding big lories. You can adjust the proportions down accordingly for your little bird.

    The staple diet would be a couple of slices of soft fruit (papaya, apple, grapes, even though I am surprised that you said the bird would not eat any) and a mixture of cooked rice sweetened with nectar mix.

    How to make nectar mix? Go to a pharmacy and get a can of food for invalids or infants. I use Complan, but I am sure any good baby formula would do. I usually make up enough to fill a beer mug, but there is no way you need that amount for a day’s feeding. If in doubt, make the mixture thinner, not thicker. Birds cannot digest baby formula that is too thick. If it is too thin, they simply have to consume more to get the required amount of energy. Then to this mug, add half a teaspoonful of rose syrup. Also stir in about a cup of cooked rice, well mashed up.

    In the case of your bird, I suggest that you pour this lot into an ice-cube tray, freeze the mixture, and defrost one cube to feed it each day.

    Now, you said that this bird eats sunflower seeds. This is most unusual for a blue-crowned hanging parrot. Are you sure that this is actually the species you have? Could it be possible that you have actually got a pet lovebird that escaped? There are so many different artificially-created breeds of lovebirds in so many colours that you might have been mistaken.

    If you actually have a lovebird, feeding is much simpler. Just go to the nearest pet shop, buy a packet of budgerigar or cockatiel seed of a reputable international brand, and offer it to the bird. You can supplement this with a couple of slices of fruit each day, and that will be all. Plus of course fresh water and a piece of cuttlefish bone to nibble on.

  10. Lee Chiu San

    About nectar feeding birds. I forgot to add that feeding nectar is messy, and it goes rancid very quickly in our tropical weather. Feeding containers have to be removed and thoroughly cleaned at the end of each day. The birds also splatter the mixture and wipe their beaks on perches and the bars of the cage. All my lories and lorikeets used to be housed in outdoor aviaries which were hosed down daily.

    If Geam Liang does not think the bird will survive if released, I really hope that it is a case of mistaken identity, and that you have a lovebird, rather than a blue-crowned hanging parrot. In our part of the world, all available lovebirds are domestically bred, take to captivity readily, and are easy to feed with commercially available seed mixtures. Yes, and being domestic pets, they would not survive if released.

  11. Geam Liang

    Thank you Chiu San for your inputs. Thus far, bananas and papayas work well. I’m not sure why it did not take to grapes – will try again. Am I supposed to peel it? I didn’t the last time, basically skewered a couple of grapes to a satay stick and positioned it as I did for the sliced and skinned papaya and peeled bananas.
    I have yet to try rice and certainly not nectar but will try out your concoction – have half a mind to go to a pet shop to see if they carry nectar for birds. The ice-cube freeze method is a good one, will try that. I might be mistaken on the sunflower seeds… not touched but it did eat the much smaller roundish, mixed colored seeds. Will remove the sunflower seeds.
    I’m sure it’s a female blue crowned hanging parrot.. it sleeps like a bat every night.

  12. Lee Chiu San

    When feeding local birds which are unfamiliar with imported fruits such as grapes, it helps to split the fruits to expose the edible parts. As to your remark that the bird sleeps hanging upside down like a bat, yes, that is the way blue-crowned hanging parrots sleep.

  13. Geam Liang

    Thanks… I need to think like a bird – yup. She has probably not seen a grape much less know that it’s edible, unless the previous owner has fed her with grapes… even then… Today she’s done pretty well making the most of the banana and all of the papaya plus quite a bit of seeds. Will try the baby food + mashed rise + rose syrup.
    Will regular honey do instead of rose syrup?
    Thanks.

  14. Lee Chiu San

    About making nectar to feed birds. Most aviculturalists do not use honey for two reasons: 1. It is expensive and does not seem to give any added benefits. 2. Honey is made by bees, and the composition varies wildly. Some honeys are also known to cause fungal infection in birds.

    If you do not want to buy a huge bottle of rose syrup just for one tiny bird, there are cheaper alternatives. The first is plain table sugar, though most don’t seem to like it very much.

    What many birds will accept quite readily as a sweetener is condensed milk – the type with sugar that coffee shop owners use.

    Many, many birds have a sweet tooth (or should I say sweet beak?) Besides the usual suspects of lories, lorikeets, sunbirds and hummingbirds, for whom it is an essential part of the diet, nectar mixture is readily consumed by mynahs, leafbirds, fairy bluebirds, barbets, doves, parrots of all kinds, and a whole host of other species.

  15. Geam Liang

    I tried the condensed mild, placed in in a small bottle cap.. only the ants showed interest. Am I supposed to dilute it? I didn’t =( I took you advice and refrained from honey. Have yet to find Rose Syrup from the shelves of TESCO… will try to mix the baby food + mashed rise + rose syrup/sugar syrup this week…

  16. David Thackray

    Can anyone help me identify a bird I saw in Singapore last week. Size of a smakll dove or thrush. Dark metallic back. Grey breast with red throat, chest.

  17. Emily Koh

    Lately I bought a bird feeder which I fill with 4parts water n 1 part white sugar. Sunbirds come regularly to drink and they are really lovely to watch. May I know if it is bad for them to feed on this? Previously they would sometimes pierce and drink from my potted flowers

  18. Emily Koh

    Lately I bought a bird feeder which I fill with 4parts water n 1 part white sugar. Sunbirds come regularly to drink and they are really lovely to watch. May I know if it is bad for them to feed on this? Previously they would sometimes pierce and drink from my potted flowers.

  19. Mahadevi Bhuti

    One of best souce for the bird watcher’s enjoying knowledge about ornithology

  20. Martin Nyffeler (PhD)

    Dear Sir / Dear Madame,

    I am a Senior Lecturer in Zoology at a University in Switzerland and I urgently need to get in touch with photographer Chan Yoke Meng, who takes beautiful photographs of birds near Singapore. Would you please mail me the email address of this photographer!

    Thanks,
    Martin

  21. Wee Ming

    Hello Besgroup,

    Trust this email finds you well. We chance upon your photograph on your website and found the amazing image of the Laced Woodpecker and durians. We would like to explore the possibility of getting permission to use them for a new Bird Park in Singapore.

    Spacelogic is a company based in Singapore and we have been contracted by Mandai Park Development to carry out design and build works relating to the exhibition interpretive displays in this new Bird Park.

    Some background of the new Mandai Bird Park project; it will build upon the legacy of the Jurong Bird Park – https://www.wrs.com.sg/en/jurong-bird-park.html by retaining and building upon a world-reference bird collection and creating a place of colour and joy for all visitors. The new Bird Park will have a world-reference ornithological collection displayed in a highly immersive way with large walk-through habitats. To enhance visitors’ experience with storyline and narrative of the bird park, transition spaces are added to display exhibits that provide a varied type of fun, intuitive, interactive and educational experiences for all visitors. One of the habitats features the Laced Woodpecker on a flora panel It is in this flora panel that we are seeking your permission to feature the Laced Woodpecker. We are looking to use the first image on the link here.
    Link can be found here: https://besgroup.org/2012/06/28/laced-woodpecker-and-durians/

    We would like to ask if this is something that we can explore further and if yes, how can we go about with putting through a formal permission request. Thank you so much for considering our request and we look forward to hearing from you.

    Warmest Regards,
    Wee Ming
    SPACElogic Pte Ltd

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